Double Cone Quarterly
Fall Equinox 2003-- Volume VI, Number 2

Perpetrated by Phil Williamson

It's been over a year since the Map Mania feature last appeared in the pages of the Double Cone Quarterly. As you may recall, we here in the Editors' Offices in the penthouse suite at DCQ Towers had been putting some pressure on the Map Mania staff to spice up the feature in the face of massive reader indifference; and in the end we decided the feature had to go, and the staff got the sack.

Well, turns out there was more demand for Map Mania than we'd thought, and in response to a flood of requests to bring it back (one email from one reader, actually, but that's good enough for us), we've decided to resuscitate Map Mania as an occasional feature of the DCQ. We can't afford to hire the old staff back, but fortunately Manpower was able to supply us with a couple of temporary minimum-wage map researchers to help us out.

So take a look at the puzzles below, haul out those dog-eared old quads, and get cracking. When you've got it all figured out, send your list of answers via email to The first one to correctly solve all the puzzles will be rewarded with a copy of the Wilderness Handbook, and can expect one of these super-informative booklets in the mailbox shortly after making the competition beg for moicy.

And in case you're interested, here are the answers to the Summer Solstice 2002 Map Mania:

SNIPPET 1: Post Summit
SNIPPET 2: Black Cone
SNIPPET 3: Caves Ranch
DEM: 1. Higgins 2. Lost Valley 3. Zigzag 4. Willow
AERIAL: 1. Escondido Camp 2. The Indians 3. Junipero Serra Peak


The map snippets below represent locations within the Ventana or Silver Peak Wilderness areas. Your task is simply to identify the camp (all of these are "official" named FS camps) indicated by the red triangle on each snippet.

Note that identifying text or symbols may or may not have been semi-skillfully removed from any or all (or none!) of the snippets.

Map Snippet 1
Map Snippet 2
Map Snippet 3


As you'll no doubt recall from past Map Mania puzzles, a Digital Elevation Model (DEM) is a digital file consisting of terrain elevation data for ground positions at regularly spaced horizontal intervals, corresponding to the area of a USGS 7.5' or 15' quad. Using special software (in this case the freeware 3DEM version 17.2 by Visualization Software) the DEM data can be rendered as a shaded three-dimensional representation of the terrain and landforms of a given USGS quad or section thereof, which can then be manipulated into different orientations.

Read the instructions for the two DEM puzzles below. You should be able to solve the puzzles by comparing the topography of the DEM image to the contour lines on the appropriate USGS 7.5' quads (which ones, you have to figure out for yourself!).

D E M   1

Flying east from the coast in your virtual Lear Jet, you look out the window and spy the terrain in DEM 1 directly below you (representing parts of two adjacent USGS 7.5' quads).

Figure out the names of the camps (not necessarily backcountry camps or FS camps, but nonetheless named "official" camps) indicated by the red numerals 1 - 5, and the names of the peaks indicated by the red letters "A" and "B".


D E M   2

Ditching your virtual Lear Jet in the virtual Pacific and climbing aboard your virtual luxury yacht, you sail south until you pass the section of coast depicted in DEM 2 (combining data from parts of two adjacent USGS 7.5' quads). Your view is approximately due north.

Your job is to A) figure out just where the dickens you are and B) provide us with the name of the camp the approximate location of which is indicated by the red triangle.



Below are two black-and-white aerial photographs (courtesy of Micro$oft's TerraServer) of well-known locations in the Monterey Ranger District of the LPNF. North is at the top, and a scale is provided; in Aerial 2, section lines have been added as an aid (or a distraction). For Aerial 1, identify the major geographical feature depicted in the photo. For Aerial 2, identify the camp indicated by the small red "X".

Aerial Photo 1

Aerial Photo 2

OK, think you have it all figured out? Email your answers to us at

As always, we welcome your comments, suggestions, praise and abuse. Drop us a line.